Power Electronics

Organic LEDs light car dashboards

Organic light emitting diodes make perfect sense for high-end vehicles, according to ABI Research analyst Joshua Laurito, noting the debut of organic LED technology in the Aston-Martin DB9, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Chevrolet Corvette. OLED displays had previously been limited to cell phones, digital cameras and automotive aftermarket radios.

OLED dashboard instrument maker Yazaki Corporation says the technology offers a high contrast ratio, low voltage and power consumption, cold temperature operation, a 180-degree viewing angle and thin, lightweight construction.

”Displays made using OLEDs offer one great advantage to auto makers: they don't wear out anything like as quickly as the lamps that illuminate conventional dashboards,” says Laurito. “Even factoring in the higher cost of the new displays, fewer warranty claims to replace a part costing under a dollar translates into big savings for luxury car manufacturers and dealers, and greater satisfaction for customers.” He adds that eventually, higher production volumes will drive down the cost of OLED displays until they are affordable in even mid-range vehicles. “Samsung, for instance, has announced a doubling of OLED production, allowing prices to fall by as much as 50 percent."

OLEDs are currently produced by an expensive "small molecule" processes, but Laurito predicts that by the end of the decade, low-cost printed polymer OLED displays will provide the mass market needed to spur widespread adoption in the automotive market and elsewhere.

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